Explore how people and the planet can flourish at Great Exhibition Road Festival


Family walking through Great Exhibition Road Festival

Registration now open for our vibrant celebration of science and the arts!

South Kensington’s annual celebration of science and the arts, led by Imperial College London in partnership with cultural and research institutions along and around Exhibition Road, returns this summer on 15-16 June 2024!

The Festival connects hundreds of our staff and students to diverse audiences – encouraging conversations, sharing opinions, and inspiring the scientists of tomorrow! Vicky Brightman Director of Public Engagement and Festival Director

This year’s Great Exhibition Road Festival will bring together scientists, inventors, artists, storytellers, curators and designers to celebrate how science and the arts help people, communities and nature to flourish.   

Through hundreds of free inspiring exhibits, insightful talks, creative workshops, interactive shows and fabulous performances, visitors of all ages will be encouraged to see the world differently and to imagine a future where people and nature, science and the arts, are flourishing together.

There are still ways for our Imperial Community to get involved, with information on volunteering at the Festival below!  

Celebrating Imperial science 

Exhibit at Great Exhibition Road FestivalAlongside iconic institutions like the Natural History Museum, V&A, Science Museum, Royal College of Music and Royal Albert Hall, Imperial College London contributes hugely to the festival experience, with hundreds of our academics and students interacting with the public about their research.  

Vicky Brightman, Director of Public Engagement at Imperial, and Festival Director said: “This year’s Festival programme is full of uplifting events that will invite visitors of all ages to imagine a positive vision of the future where people, communities, and the planet flourish together. By creating engaging and accessible ways for the public to interact with Imperial’s research through these events, the Festival connects hundreds of our staff and students to diverse audiences – encouraging conversations, sharing opinions, and inspiring the scientists of tomorrow!"

Two boys looking at a skeleton displayThe Festival is presented across many themed zones exploring different elements of Imperial science, including the: 

  • Energy Zone – explore the latest sustainable solutions to our planetary emergency, from interacting with a fully functioning model town powered by green energy to building your own decarbonised battery, before moving on our floor panels to generate energy and help power the Festival.  
  • Tech Zone – from micro-bots to smarter AI and revolutionary MedTech, discover how magnificent machines are working to propel mankind into a flourishing future. Check out medical marvels in prosthetic, wearables keeping our help in check, and tiny robots used in our bodies to treat illnesses.  
  • Space Zone – learn to code a model Mars rover, send interplanetary messages using microwave lasers or check out the tiny cosmic particles trapped inside our cloud chamber to understand the universe on a sub-atomic level.   

Festival highlights – new surprises and returning favourites!  

Futute food demo kitchenExciting elements from 2023 will be returning to this year’s Festival, including the extremely popular Future Food Zone. Featuring new content and a bigger and better demo kitchen – where visitors can learn how to make meals for both a healthy body and a healthy planet from top chefs and scientists – this Zone is sure to be a visitor favourite! 

Creativity and science will fuse again at Paint Lab, with ten new artists creating large-scale murals live during the Festival weekend. Their pieces will be inspired by conversations with Imperial scientists working on a range of innovative projects helping people, and the world, to flourish – from research into sustainable and degradable plastics to the possibility of building prosthetics with sense of touch.  

Artist painting a fox and flowers on large canvas on Exhibition RoadThe NextGen Zone, a space designed specifically for young people, is back but brimming with new activities! Including AI-gaming, electric racing and VR for mental health, as well as a relaxing area to grab a free snack and listen to a DJ. The Zone is programmed with the help of the Young Producers, a group of 18-24 year-olds from the surrounding boroughs who support the Festival team in creating content that speaks to younger generations.   

We’ve created a brand-new place for visitors to engage with science in relaxed and creative ways: our Science Cabaret Tent on Dangoor plaza! Visitors can grab a drink from the nearby bar before settling into a game of mathematical bingo, watch performances from award-winning poet and ex-scientist Jack Cooper or create their own algorithmic art!  

Some exciting new talks and workshops on this year’s programme also include:  

  • Can Psychedelic Drugs Help You Flourish – explore the use of psychoactive compounds in mentally health treatment, creative problem solving, and personal wellbeing with researchers from the Centre for Psychedelic Research.  
  • Seeds of Change – sow the seeds of a greener tomorrow at a workshop with the Royal Society of Sculptors and students from Imperial’s Engineers without Borders team. Craft a plant pot from recyclable material before making and planting a sustainability goal written on seed paper (to take home and watch flourish)!  
  • Will Humanity Thrive on Other Planets – join Britain’s first astronaut, Dr Helen Sharman, for a panel discussion on the latest military and commercial technologies that may help us flourish beyond our home planet. 

Volunteer at the Great Exhibition Road Festival  

Volunteers at Great Exhibition Road FestivalThe Great Exhibition Road Festival would not be possible without our incredible community of volunteers who make sure visitors have the best possible experience, all while having an enjoyable day themselves. 94% of last year’s volunteers agreed or strongly agreed that they would recommend volunteering at a future festival, with 92% saying they would volunteer at the same event again. 

Intrigued? Download our guide to volunteering at the Great Exhibition Road Festival to find out if it’s something for you and sign up to shifts today (the earlier you sign up for shifts, the more say you can have in which Zone you’re placed in or type of activity you’ll be supporting!)  

You can also hear more about the experience of volunteering, and what you might get out of it, in our interview with Ata Rahman – who works in the Information and Communication Technologies Department: 

Register today! 

Visit greatexhibitionroadfestival.co.uk to register, or just arrive on the day. 

All events are free, and some will have advance tickets released ahead of the Festival weekend. Register now for the latest updates and to hear when free tickets are released for popular events. 

To keep up to date with public engagement activities, training opportunities and other opportunities to engage wider audiences with Imperial’s work, sign up to the Societal Engagement newsletter


Nisha Emich

Nisha Emich
Office of the Provost


Societal-engagement, Public-engagement, Great-Exhibition-Road-Festival
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